Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2013, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (1): 3-16.doi: 10.1007/s11442-013-0989-7

• Research Articles •     Next Articles

Extreme drought changes in Southwest China from 1960 to 2009

ZHANG Mingjun, HE Jinyun, WANG Baolong, WANG Shengjie, LI Shanshan, LIU Wenli, MA Xuening   

  1. College of Geography and Environment Sciences, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730070, China
  • Received:2012-06-19 Revised:2012-07-12 Online:2013-02-15 Published:2013-02-07


Based on the daily data of temperature and precipitation of 108 meteorological stations in Southwest China from 1960 to 2009, we calculate the monthly and yearly surface humid indexes, as well as the extreme drought frequency. According to the data, the temporal and spatial characteristics of the extreme drought frequency in inter-annual, inter-decadal, summer monsoon period and winter monsoon period are analyzed. The results are indicated as follows. (1) In general, the southwestern Sichuan Basin, southern Hengduan Mountains, southern coast of Guangxi and northern Guizhou are the areas where the extreme drought frequency has significantly increased in the past 50 years. As for the decadal change, from the 1960s to the 1980s the extreme drought frequency has presented a decreasing trend, while the 1990s is the wettest decade and the whole area is turning wet. In the 2000s, the extreme drought frequency rises quickly, but the regional differences reduce. (2) During summer monsoon period, the extreme drought frequency is growing, which generally occurs in the high mountains around the Sichuan Basin, most parts of Guangxi and “the broom-shaped mountains” in Yunnan. It is distinct that the altitude has impacts on the extreme drought frequency; during winter monsoon period, the area is relatively wet and the extreme drought frequency is decreasing. (3) During summer monsoon period, the abrupt change is observed in 2003, whereas the abrupt change during winter monsoon period is in 1989. The annual extreme drought frequency variation is a superposition of abrupt changes during summer monsoon and winter monsoon periods. The departure sequence vibration of annual extreme drought frequency is quasi-5 years and quasi-12 years.

Key words: Southwest China, extreme drought, summer monsoon, winter monsoon